Sunday, August 8, 2010
Purity is Vastly Underrated!
Peter and Shauna, dear friends of Gramma Rosie and me, had seven children with other spouses before they married a few more than a dozen years ago. He had moved to Utah from a prosperous Real Estate Career. She was going to school after her doctor husband left her and their three children.
The first of Shauna and Peter's youngest is Cole. He and his brothers Noah and Jackson are beginning to come of age.
In our neighborhood when your young man reaches his twelfth birthday he becomes a man. As the boy, Jesus, taught the elders in the temple in Jerusalem at twelve, a young Jewish boy is Bar Mitsfaed. A young Mormon boy of the same age is interviewed to see if he is worthy and willing to accept the responsibilities for the confirmation of the Aaronic Priesthood in the office of a Deacon.
By the time Cole turned 12 he believed he was ready and our Bishop put his name before the congregation, who voted unanimously in favor to support the young man in his new responsibilities. You see, we know Cole. We know he's ready for this next big step. Since he was baptised and confirmed four years ago, Cole has stood before the congregation in Fast and Testimony meeting and offered his beliefs in simple, pure, loving ways. There are many other boys his age in our congregation, but Cole has always stood out as a pure soul.
He's not a goody two shoes. His purity does not come from a "Look at Me" self centered demand for attention. He is just pure. He has always been a kid who wants to do the right thing for the right reason--as long as I've known him.
Last week, the full Deacon's Quorum led by both it's several adult advisors and it's peer Presidency swooped down on the Primary (by prearrangement) and honored Cole (as they do every other 12 year old boy) and escorted him out of the Primary and up to the room where the Deacon's Quorum holds its meetings. It was a simple but highly symbolic calling out that like Paul, Cole was done with childish things. That day he became a man.
It is Cole's father's privilege to ordain him--but Peter was in Nigeria on business--bringing green industry to the third world. Peter was way out of town after our block of meetings last week--so Cole went ordainless. When he got up this morning, he begged his father to make arrangements to ordain him BEFORE the Sacrament Meeting so he could pass the sacrament for the first time. It just didn't happen. These things follow tribal time tables...and the ordination traditionally is done AFTER the Three Meeting Block.
So, Cole sat on the sidelines this morning, the first time in priesthood meeting, champing at the bit, knowing that this would be the last time he attended priesthood meeting without being ordained. At Sacrament Meeting, Cole watched especially carefully as his new quorums of young men blessed and passed the emblems of the sacrament. Next week, surely, he would be among those who serve.
Now to heaven.
At noon I had returned to the building after a visit down the street to the care center where services are held for the ailing and dying. Big Bill Gassner, my friend for more than seven years conducts the services--with another great friend Jerry Curtis. There were nearly ten in the congregation this morning, and that in spite of a broken elevator. It's been nearly four years since I've been to a service--and Bill called on me to play the piano and bear my testimony. (I haven't played piano for a meeting for nine months since my little stroke last November 22nd)
In the lobby waiting for the Bishop was Peter. We hadn't visited since his return from Nigeria. (He travels back and forth between Holladay and his third world outreach in Africa) It is dangerous but noble work. As we visited, Peter said in passing, "I hope you'll come stand in the circle with us for Cole's ordination." I was so moved. This kind of invitation only comes to those as close as family--and while I had assumed I was, I was so pleased that THEY thought so to! We pray for Peter and his family, especially when he is out of town. I so hope he will succeed in bringing his green technology, jobs and western advantages to this deserving country.
I approached Cole and put my gentle arm around his shoulder. "Cole, " I whispered, "Your sweet dad has asked me to join the circle when we ordain you a Deacon. Are you OK with that?"
"Oh, yes!" he replied, his face shining up into mine. This young puppetteer and football player, this natural, gentle leader of the youngest of the three brothers was ready for the next big step in his life.
We gathered in the good Bishop's office and the ordinance was done. There were a few tears in both the Father and the Son--sniffles, really--and what was said is known only to us and to God. That is my report on my visit to Heaven early this afternoon.
It is said that Jesus, at twelve, in the temple explaining the Law to the elders, was ready to govern Israel--but his earthly father, Joseph helped him understand that he ought to wait a while and grow up some.
Several months ago, Cole again bore his simple, sweet testimony and Sister Marge followed the young man to the pulpit. She and her husband have had more than their share of challenges with little men in their family. "How do you raise young men llike Cole, she asked. " Would somebody please tell me how?"
This pure young man still is mischevious some times; he enjoys a good joke and good fun--but like Jesus must have been at his age, he can be serious and understand "the weightier matters of the law!"
On the day he was approved by the Congregation, he took the pulpit again, serious, slim and grown in a black suit and silk tie to bear his testimony. I published the three or four lines with other, adult, testimony nuggets in the Sacrament Meeting Program this morning. As you read these simple, you may understand the pure soul who spoke them barely a week ago:
"I am grateful to be able to receive the priesthood, so grateful for the love of my father and mother, for the example of my brothers and sisters and the young men of this ward. I am grateful that Jesus Christ sacrificed his body for us," So said my young friend, Cole.
What is the cost of such purity in a young man? What are his uses in the plans of the Lord. Like other boy prophets Samuel, David, Nephi, Mormon and Joseph Smith before him, Cole underrstands something of how The Holy Ghost can work through such an one. Purity like that is Vastly Underrated! .JWC